Address: 9, Hughes Road, Chowpatty, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Time: 12 Noon to 12 Midnight
Meals for two: Rs. 850
Cuisines: North Indian, Mughlai, Street Food, Vegetarian
Facilities: Vegetarian Only, Serves Alcohol, Valet Parking Available, Serves Jain Food
I’m not a vegetarian (my mother’s family is). But I have very systematically been tracking the vegetarian food scene, nationally and globally, too. Researching and writing the World’s first vegetarian guide to Paris was thrilling. As was my other vegetarian Around The World In 80 Plates. Shooting TV shows in many a pure vegetarian restaurant… Joia (Milan the world’s first vegetarian restaurant to get a Michelin star), Michelin-starred Fu He Hui (Shanghai) to 110-year-old Hiltl (Zurich) and even the 10-year-old (No onion, no garlic) and Botanica (St. Petersburg). Even made Gordon Ramsay turn vegetarian when I shot with him for Channel 4. For the longest time, Mumbai vegetarian eateries were treated like poor relatives of non-vegetarian ones. All that has changed. They’ve gone molecular (Spice Klub), set up in fancy Five star hotels (Tuskers) and now comes ‘Tantra’ in Hughes Road. It gleams with marble and claims to offer up British India. So who better to invite than a London based vegetarian gourmet? Forever helpful, dapper Sunil Sheth senior partner in a prestigious London law firm along with lawyer partner Mythily Katsaris. They were in Mumbai to celebrate the 20th birthday of the life changing NGO Sense International of which Sunil is chairperson and Mythily, the trustee. Wowing both London (where she is now based) and Mumbai and hugely busy with her commitments here, the timelessly gorgeous and lovable Raageshwari Loomba, actress, award winning singer and motivational speaker made time to lunch with us. I went back for yet another lunch (Gautam Purohit’s birthday) and ate our way through the menu.
Tantra, Chowpatty, Mumbai: DECOR
Three clocks displaying time in NYC London and India catch your attention. The swish marbled restaurant is pleasantly appointed with a colonial air.
Tantra, Chowpatty, Mumbai: FOOD
Traditional Indian dishes do the dandia with modern ones. Over our two meals, we tried both. Go for the traditional. Be it the tangy chaat of tender firm Shakarkandi, the soft cubes of paneer (with palak and also Zafraani) got the popular vote. Punjabi Dum Aloo, Fada Ni Khichdi, Velvetty Rajasthani kadi kissed with sweetness of Pineapple Raita. Ask for Onion Paratha, end with the halwa and the Tantra Special Kulfi. Booze and Nachos et al as bar snacks, too.
Tantra, Chowpatty, Mumbai: MINUS POINTS
Ooof! Why does it have to be a mixed up Pao Bhaji Shorba? Feta Ghughra (with a smattering of feta)? Kothimbir Vadi cheese roll? Mushy Kale chaat. Many a mismatched marriages. Avoidable. Noisy and packed (mainly with kitty parties).
Tantra, Chowpatty, Mumbai: MY POINT
Jains and vegetarians looking for a swish ambiance with decent traditional regional food (and booze)? Not too fussed about gourmet and modern versions? This way please. Tantra is your new mantra.